Sean Tibbetts: Exclusive Interview with Kamelot Germany
Sean Tibbetts was a part of almost every Kamelot tour over the last few years and since last December he’s a full member of the band. Did you ever wonder who’s that guy behind the musician? Kamelot Germany had the chance to do an interview with him to shed some light on the subject. Enjoy the read!
Kamelot Germany: You are a full member of the band again since a year now. How is it going so far?
Sean Tibbetts: Tell you the truth it’s been a great year. I feel like I am playing the best I have ever played in my life. The band is firing on all cylinders every song, every show. It’s kind like playing basketball when you take that shot and you feel it swish before it even gets to the goal. It’s like that for an hour and a half on stage.
KG: Not everybody knows that you have been one of the founding members of Kamelot, but left before the first album was recorded. Can you tell us how the band came together back then?
Sean: I was touring the U.S. with a cover band named Bratz and I wanted to try to make my own mark in music. I have always been a metal junkie so when I saw an ad in the local music mag looking for a metal bassist, I jumped on it. I cant remember if I talked to Thomas or Rick (1st drummer) but I had a few hows left with Bratz so I asked them out. They came to the show and a week later I was in Kamelot. Mark Vanderbilt was at the first practice and when I heard him sing I was blown away. We did a few local shows and had several different keyboardists. The response we received at the shows was always great. Rick and I never really got along well so I eventually left the band after a few years.
KG: Did you stay in contact with Thomas and the rest of Kamelot after originally leaving? Did you imagine they would go on and release so many successful albums until today?
Sean: Yes I stayed in contact with Mark and Thomas after I left. I had only been gone about 2 months when I was told about them signing a deal. I was really happy for them and a little bummed I wasn’t there for it. I kept up with the band and listened to the music getting better with each CD. I have been doing tours with them filling in for Glenn since the Black Halo CD and just to see the fan base and the shows grow over the past years has been amazing.
KG: Poetry For The Poisoned was the first album you recorded with the band. How does the darker tone of the album speaks to you personally?
Sean: I enjoy every song on the CD and I’m not just saying that for the bands’ sake. I like to listen to anything I am a part of and try to put myself in the listeners perspective. I would have to say it is one of those CDs you listen to and it almost transports you somewhere else. I totally dig that aspect about it. It feels like a journey when I listen to it. I don’t own very many CDs that do that for me, A Perfect Circles’ Mer De Noms,Tools’ 10,000 days or Queensrÿches‘ Operation Mindcrime all have a similar tone about them.
KG: Did you ever do any songwriting for other bands you played in and if so, would you like to contribute something for Kamelot on future albums, if the opportunity came up?
Sean: I have written music for every band I have ever played in. I am a writer and an artist, it is what I do best. I come from a family of artist and musicians, it’s in my blood.
KG: In which other bands have you played before Kamelot? I know about Royal Anguish for example. Are you still making music with them?
Sean: I have played with several other bands if you dig around you can find them. As far as Royal Anguish goes I don’t know what to say other than I’m not a part of the band anymore. I don’t really know what they are up to these days. It was unfortunate things fell apart when they did. We had just finished writing and recording a great CD. We started shopping it to new labels but it was a few years ago and most labels were starting to have financial problems. Most of them didn’t know if they would be open the next week so nobody was looking to take on new acts. Things slowed down and Kamelot picked up so here I am.
KG: Which music genres and bands do you like to listen to personally?
Sean: I listen to all different styles. I like death metal to jazz and many in between.Today I listened to Dave Mathews, Mudvayne, Breaking Benjamin, Killswitch Engage and Saigon Kick. Tomorrow may be Flamenco guitar day or Dimmu Borgir day. I’m open to most music.
KG: Do you play other instruments than bass?
Sean: Not really. I’m a busy guy and don’t have a lot of spare time. I would like to work on guitar again and may be some Keyboards. Between Kamelot, working with bands, teaching and my own bass studies my plate is full.
KG: What made you decide to pick this instrument over all the other choices?
Sean: Oh, that’s a good question. I have more than one answer for that. My father asked me what I wanted for Christmas when I was 12 and like most kids I wanted to beat on things so naturally I said drums. That year I received a shinny red GUITAR! I said, this isn’t a drum set. He said, I wasn’t buying you an instrument without a volume knob. Wise man.
I played for a few years then injured my left wrist at work. For years after that the little guitar strings hurt my hand from the nerve damage but for what ever reason the bass strings did not. I found there was plenty of work for a bassist. I really came to love the bass and the different approaches to music it gave me.
KG: A lot of people tent to overlook the importance of the bass in a band. Tell them why they are wrong!
Sean: Well, the bass holds the melody of a song together. Most people, most of the time don’t even hear it, but if you took it out you would think, what the heck happened. The bass is the sound that fills in the gaps between all the installments. Without me we would all be deaf from that screeching little guitar thingy. HAHA
KG:Is it very difficult to combine family and being a musician? I imagine it must be difficult to organize sometimes. How are youdealing with all of this?
Sean: To me there is nothing difficult about it. I have been in this business since I was 18. It’s a state of mind and a way of Life. My family has always supported me. I can’t imagine going through life without it. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel.
KG: What are your hobbies when you are not on tour or making music? I read on your MySpace site one of your hobbies is fishing. What was your biggest catch so far?
Sean: Yes I am a fishing freak, I love it. The funny thing is I don’t eat fish. I put them all back to be caught another day. I have been touring overseas for years now and I finally brought a pole this past year and it was a blast.
The biggest catch so far would have to be my sister in-law Renee. I was casting off the bow of a boat and snagged her in the meat of her arm. She was a trooper, I couldn’t even look at it, I set the hook deep. She pulled it out and we all kept fishing. I caught 13 fish that day, 14 if you count Renee.
KG: Being on tour means a lot of time waiting around. How do you spend your time on tour when you are not on stage or doing sound-checks?
Sean: I’m usually out walking around the city, shopping, eating, trying to satisfy my caffeine monster. I bring a computer so I talk and write with friends and family a lot.
KG: Which Kamelot song is your favorite to play live?
Sean: Black Halo. That song just kills my hand and it feels good to work hard at something and walk away knowing you just nailed it.
KG: You guys do such a high energy live performance on stage and still come out after the shows to talk to the fans as often as you can. Aren’t you usually dead tired, just longing for your bed?
Sean: The first show or two on a tour can be a bit strenuous. Getting the show together and getting it right from the start sets the pace for the rest of the tour. You body goes in to tour mode and it becomes normal.
KG:What’s the coolest/most memorable thing that happened to you so farwhile being with the band?
Sean: I couldn’t sleep in Norway it was just too much light outside. So I went fishing in the harbor in front of the hotel at 4:30 in the morning. I was slamming fish and I look up and a swan paddles by,
then a family of swans paddle by. Just then a small buck deer runs by me. I was like what the heck, am I in a Disney Film and nobody told me?
Oh yeah and playing with Maiden was cool too. 🙂
KG: You are having your own blog (http://www.seantibbetts.com) since a while. What do you plan to do with it in the future? The contest you did there in October with your tour jacket as a first price was a fantastic idea!
Sean: Thank you. The site is a new thing for me, I actually have a few people giving me a hand and without them the site would never have come out as well as it did. I had one up last year but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted so I scrapped it and started over. I turned the new one on in August of this year and I am very happy with the end result. My team did an excellent job so, thank you guys.
I am currently working on some new contest and I will be writing equipment reviews for companies who would like their equipment tried in a touring situation. I also plan on taking my video camera with me this next tour and try to capture some of the crazy life I lead.
KG: On stage you sometimes wear your hair open and sometimes you wear those little pig-tails. They look totally kick-ass! How long does it take to put them up and which style do you prefer?
Sean: It takes a little work. A lot less when I can talk someone into helping. I don’t do it every night because I think it would rip all my hair out and ….I like to keep you guessing.
KG: We are already coming to our last question! If a fairy came visit you and would grant you one wish, one wish to fulfill yourself a dream – what would that be? And don’t say worldpeace, be selfish!
Sean: Just one! Damn I started writing 3 now I have to re-evaluate…….Eternal youth so I could play my bass forever and maybe I would finally have time to make that cool mill I’ve been looking for.
KG: Thank you very much for the interview, Sean! Can’t wait to see you guys on tour again next spring!